Since its inception Snapchat, an app based on the concept of time-limited video and photo sharing, has been like the Wild West of social media platforms for youth. Teens don’t have to worry about their parents seeing what they’re up to with the social media platform, because, generally, older people just can’t figure it out.
Of course, because of that, some pretty racy things can go down on the platform between users. But that’s not the issue causing a 14-year-old boy and his mother to sue the platform for what they see as a violation of the United State’s Communication Decency Act.
The issue is Snapchat’s own Discover section, in which publications like Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan publish original content, which the plaintiffs say is offensively explicit without appropriate warning.
The filing, published by The Verge, gives specific examples of offensive articles such as “I Got High, Blown, and Robbed When I Was A Pizza Delivery Guy,” and “F#ck Buddies Talk About How They Kept it Casual.”
The plaintiffs state that according to the Communication Decency Act, Snapchat should provide a warning about the “offensive content” in the Discover section that would notify the user about parental control protections. It also seeks civil penalties, stating that the charge is $50,000 for each day in violation of the act.
On admonishing section of the filing reads: “Snapchat has placed profit from monetizing Snapchat Discover over the safety of children.”
Snapchat’s terms of services restricts the use of the platform to children 13 and older, while Apple’s App Store rates the app as being appropriate for children ages 12 and older.
A Snapchat spokesperson told The Verge, “We haven’t been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, but we are sorry if people were offended. Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support.”
Related reading: Snapchat to introduce new Memories feature in ‘the coming months’